Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Weekend with Ted

Not such an excellent adventure.  I'm certain he feels otherwise, though.  Our little junior in the Senate, Ted "Poop" Cruz, won a straw vote taken among his core -- the looniest of the loony -- then went on This Weak with George Snuffleluffagus and preened.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, didn’t waste any time relaxing this weekend.

The junior senator and potential 2016 presidential contender appeared first at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans Saturday and then in a televised interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC Sunday night.

In New Orleans, Cruz, the pride of the Tea Party, appealed to the Southern conservative crowd, winning the conference’s presidential straw poll with over 30 percent of the vote. Dr. Ben Carson, a Fox news commentator, trailed close behind with just over 29 percent, but Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., won only 10 percent of the vote and Gov. Rick Perry won even less with five percent.


On Sunday, in an interview on ABC’s “This Week, ” Stephanopoulos pressed Cruz for information on his potential presidential bid and asked whether furthering factions in the Republican Party is the best strategy for winning the White House in 2016.

Cruz said strategies from 2010 and 1980 are examples of what Republicans need to do to maintain power in the House in 2014.

“The way we win…is drawing a line in the sand, standing for principle, drawing a clear distinction and making the case to the American people that an election matters,” he said.

Te Cruz is running for president?  Hadn't heard that before. *yawn*

David Denby at the New Yorker has him pretty well pegged, and not just his visage.

When Ted Cruz lies, he appears to be praying. His lips narrow, almost disappearing into his face, and his eyebrows shift abruptly, rising like a drawbridge on his forehead into matching acute angles. He attains an appearance of supplication, an earnest desire that men and women need to listen, as God surely listens. Cruz has large ears; a straight nose with a fleshy tip, which shines in camera lights when he talks to reporters; straight black hair slicked back from his forehead like flattened licorice; thin lips; a long jaw with another knob of flesh at the base, also shiny in the lights. If, as Orwell said, everyone has the face he deserves at fifty, Cruz, who is only forty-two, has got a serious head start. For months, I sensed vaguely that he reminded me of someone but I couldn’t place who it was. Revelation has arrived: Ted Cruz resembles the Bill Murray of a quarter-century ago, when he played fishy, mock-sincere fakers. No one looked more untrustworthy than Bill Murray. The difference between the two men is that the actor was a satirist.

It gets less personal and more better.

He seeks the Presidency, of course. And he appears to be doing it by sowing as much confusion and disorder as possible—playing the joker in a seemingly nihilistic charade whose actual intent is a rational grab for power. Does he have a chance? One wonders about his supporters. Are they in on the joke, aware that his concern is a mask? Or do they take him literally, as a truth-teller and a prophet? Are they cynics or true believers? If they are cynics, he will fail; if they are true believers, he could go very far, expanding his support in a messianic crusade, a quest to purify and redeem the nation.

Prior to the next election, Democrats can’t do much to deter him. They may hope that he continues his rampage, turning off big money and more and more of the electorate. His immediate threat, obviously, is to moderate Republicans. If he continues to blaze, they will be consumed. Then again, there is another side to the Joseph McCarthy story. After going too far—attacking the Army, in 1953 and 1954—McCarthy was censured by the Senate, in December, 1954. (He died less than three years later, of liver problems, at the age of forty-eight.) When the mask of sincerity gets smashed, the man wearing it may break apart, too.

2016 will be really fun if the Republicks nominate Cruz.  I just don't think they will do so.

Update: The TXGOP has selected Rand Paul as their keynoter at this weekend's state convention.  Both Cruz and Rick Perry will also address delegates with floor speeches.

Update II: In Senate hearings this morning regarding a potential amendment reversing Citizens United, Cruz accused "liberals" of attacking the First Amendment.  This is the grandest of political theater: Democrats in the Senate hold hearings on something they know will never pass -- really; it's the equivalent of House investigations into Benghazi or repealing Obamacare -- and Republicans moan and cry and then twist it into something completely ridiculous.

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